The Town by the Sea

“Amitav Ghosh, renowned novelist, accompanies the Director on a search through the island of Car Nicobar towards the seafront where the town of Malacca once stood. Discovering in stages how little he had understood the power of the tsunami, the writer finds himself completely unprepared for the experience. This is the concluding part of a special three-article series for The Hindu.” I turned to follow him and we were heading back towards the blazing palms, when he stopped to point to a yellow paint box, peeping out of the rubble.

Brazil to break drug patents

This had to happen one day. After AIDS infections in the country has reached alarming levels, Brazil health organizations have found the monopolistic pricing of Multinational drug companies, impossible to sustain. Therefore the country has taken the position that they have to break patents to lift the country out of misery. India has recently introduced product patents which is going into effect from Jan 1 2005. The immediate repurcussion of this is going to felt in a few months (till existing stocks are cleared) as medicine costs countrywide are going to zoom up.

Interesting items on sale

Bananaguard : Our unique, patented device allows for the safe transport and storage of individual bananas letting you enjoy perfect bananas anytime, anywhere. A travellers USB disk shaped as a mince pie. (Thanks to Boing Boing for the links)

Ramayana comics on the web

People of my generation would remember comics in our chidhood days which were mostly Amar Chitra Katha, Tintin and Asterix. Well, it seems that the Ramayana comics (known by the term “graphic novels” these days) from the Amar Chitra Katha series is available as an exhibition on this site. Good for me. Flipping through the pages refreshed my memory a lot, apart from spreading over a wave of nostalgia. (By the way, why does it seem that the king Dasharatha was a bit of a tender nature?

Video Conferencing On Linux

I have normally had a bad experience with multimedia related software till today. An expensive IBM PC camera has not been working for quite a while, so I had banished it to my family’s Windows XP machine. But I needed one to play with for my own FC3 linux box. My hardware dealer at first insisted that I try out a damn cheap Chinese cam costing Rs. 950. The package was as cheap as it could be made, but the demo that he showed me was impressive.

America heading towards an economic armageddon

… so says Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley, according to this article. The statistics are staggering: To finance its current account deficit with the rest of the world, he said, America has to import $2.6 billion in cash. Every working day. That is an amazing 80 percent of the entire world’s net savings. Sustainable? Hardly. Meanwhile, he notes that household debt is at record levels.

In the US of A, public asks for permission from corporates

It is interesting to see how the lives of people in USA are increasingly being taken over by corporates. Here is how Verizon forces/lobbies/oils the Pennsylvania Senate into passing a bill which makes it unlawful for municipalities or any government institutions to offer telecommunications services which competes against them. Quoting from the article: The Pennsylvania Senate passed House Bill 30 which prohibits municipalities from delivering telecommunications services for compensation if it competes with private enterprise.

A record company with a difference

A record company which takes its fingers out of some of the jars, and offers its albums under a Creative Commons licence! Positron! Records also has a kickass official statement on this matter, saying: Positron! Records is pleased to announce that our artists now have the option of releasing their works under Creative Commons licenses. Unlike those who suffer from what we like to call “major label retardation,” we here at Positron!

Patents - the new tradeable goods in town

Great! Here is a company whose reason for existence is to trade in patents. They don’t implement any of it, they just keep filing or buying ’em and selling ’em. They say that the firm was founded to invest in innovation and invention. Lessig also writes: In 1991, according to The Patent Wars by Fred Warshofsky, Bill Gates said this about software patents: If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.